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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Velvet Goldmine [Blu-ray]


(Todd Haynes, 1998)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Channel Four Films

Video: Miramax Lionsgate



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:59:14.981

Disc Size: 23,996,665,070 bytes

Feature Size: 21,225,129,984 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.97 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 13th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4097 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4097 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, Spanish, none



• Audio Commentary with director Todd Haynes and Producer Christine Vachon

'Theatrical Trailer (1:43)






Description: Set in London in the early '70's during the emergence of the glam-rock scene- this film follows the rise of Brian Slade,... a mythical rock icon who finds himself at the very epicenter of the pleasures and decadence of his day. At the peak of his fame, Brian and his wife Mandy cruise the nightspots of New York and mix with the likes of Ewan McGregor's Curt Wild, his spiritual twin and fellow glam rocker -- until Brian disappears after a publicity stunt gone wrong. Years later, British journalist Arthur Stuart delves into the mystery to uncover what happened.



The Film:

This witty, evocative re-creation of the heady days of glam rock is loosely structured on the lines of a Citizen Kane-style flashback narrative, with a journalist (Bale) sent back from New York to Britain to investigate, ten years on, the disappearance of Bowie-like star Brian Slade (Meyers) after an on-stage assassination is revealed to have been a publicity stunt. Partly a film clef which retranslates real-life events and personalities into a dazzling fiction, partly an unsentimental celebration of an era of (potential) pan-sexual liberation (complete with unexpected but fitting tribute to Oscar Wilde), and partly a typically Haynesian study of transgression, identity and the gulf between private and public image, it's superbly shot, edited and performed, and exhilaratingly inventive throughout.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide HERE

The rock-and-roll demon is hard to catch. Filmmakers stalk the image, not the feeling, and seldom come close. Oliver Stone's take on The Doors missed by miles. Todd Haynes uses live bait. He knows too well that sexuality has an irresistible pull. The devil's music demands hell fire and damp underclothes.

Velvet Goldmine is drenched in the sweat of its dreams. Chaos, wonderment and exaggeration bathes the film in light that hath no understanding. The life of a pop star is not the same as that of a commodity broker. It is not the same as anyone. Haynes uses unreality as a metaphor. "A man's life is his image," glam rock icon, Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), declares. So be it.

Excerpt from Angus Wolfe Murray at Eye For Film located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Velvet Goldmine has plenty of different visual styles used - representing the nostalgia of period, sepia stills, and grittiness of 2nd-hand TV video clips right up to the more pristine look of modern film. The single-layered Blu-ray from Miramax / Lionsgate seems to do a decent, if not stellar, job with a mediocre bitrate via the AVC encode. While difficult source material fro SD - the 1080P handles it quite well. Colors seem true without artificial boosting. Contrast is adept. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Velvet Goldmine and the video transfer seems like a solid representation with minor noise and some desirable depth.

















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 4097 kbps sounds fabulous when tested by the film. Velvet Goldmine is filled with music - the likes of Gary Glitter, Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Marc Bolan, and even Lou Reed. Both high-end and bass are supported with real strength. There are no flaws here and much to extol with some tight and crisp cords. Optional subtitle support the dialogue and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

It appears as though this audio commentary with director Todd Haynes and producer Christine Vachon is new for this release. Haynes is great and gets congenial support from long-time producer Vachon reminiscing about the production. This is a big bonus for the release and a must-listen to for the director's fans. Aside from that is a theatrical trailer and the Blu-ray disc is bookmark-able.



This is a helluva film and Todd Haynes is masterful - but this won't appeal to all audiences. Velvet Goldmine is impressively realized and visually intriguing. I can't think of another film that broached this topic in such a memorable way - although I often think of The Man Who Fell to Earth. In many ways this is dissimilar to Haynes' Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story but there are also some creative links. There are a lot of artistic abstracts and uniqueness here and the Blu-ray may not be 'transfer of the year' but supports the film well enough to enjoy the presentation to a reasonable degree in your Home Theater. For $15 I'd say this was an acceptable buy of a pretty cool film. 

Gary Tooze

December 8th, 2011



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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